Robert B. Livingston
March 17, 2005
Conversation with Pragmatic Humanist, Sidney Hook
This wide-ranging conversion (to be continued in a second part) exhibits why the thoughts of philosopher Sidney Hook cannot be easily catagorized.
Having been a Marxist in youth, his pursuit of truth based on reason and the principles of the Scientific Method led him to oppose all who stifled debate and democratic discourse-- even though it alienated him from many of his contemporaries. In this program he describes himself as a social democrat.
In this first part, the octogenarian philosopher recalls his opposition to U.S. involvement in the first World War, his hopes and disillusionment with the Russian Revolution, and his puzzlement that at career's end he would be identified as a conservative and not as an upholder of the Jeffersonian Liberal Democratic tradition.
Hook concludes this segment by contrasting his radical youth to radicals of the Vietnam and post-Vietnam War era. He laments what he views as an increasing politicization of University campuses and the stifling of free speech.
Some topics touched upon:
World War One
World War Two
doctrine of judicial restraint